The zebrafish has tremendous potential as a model of human disease and aging. It is already proving to be an excellent model for several human diseases, and there is an increasing wealth of resources available to the zebrafish community. In addition, aging phenotypes and age-associated molecular changes in pathways such as the heat shock response have been demonstrated in zebrafish, and zebrafish have been shown to have many similarities to aging mammals including gross, cellular, and molecular characteristics. Despite the many advantages to using mature zebrafish as an animal model, it has been underutilized in studies of aging and adult-onset or age-related diseases. Studies regarding normal physiology and age-related changes in zebrafish are very scarce, and it is critical to more fully characterize mature zebrafish in order to understand the effects of mutagenesis and transgenes in mature zebrafish. Characterization of normal zebrafish biology and physiology, as well as defining molecular mechanisms of stress response and aging, should help provide a foundation for future studies utilizing adult zebrafish.
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